ESSAY// My life is fucked up because I called a powerful man out for rape, pt. 2

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READ FIRST: My life is fucked up because I called a powerful man out for rape on behalf of Young Chicago Authors

In December 2014, I published “small fortunes,” a novel chronicling my life. Inspired by Ernest Hemingway, and Roberto Bolaño’s Savage Detectives a lot of it was about romance, but the point was making a snapshot of the arts scene in Chicago at that moment in time.

At the closing of the opening vignette, I see Chance the Rapper at one of Jamila’s release shows and it’s a warm handshake-hug. But he’s hanging out with Bee Kapri, who isn’t talking to or looking at me. I show me watching him embrace and embraced by the friend group I am being excluded by right in front of me, as we look up at Jam jam from the edge of the stage. I’m going to fill in missing information in this thread with the help of this record.

I tried to be very kind as well as firm in my thread, but at least two people were angry with me because they thought I was omitting important events as well as implying that their success in the past five years wouldn’t have been possible… if they had… I dunno. Followed through like I did?  I intentionally was not implying that from a general, conspiratorial standpoint~ Young Chicago Authors nefariously kneecapping careers. But since I’m being pressed on specifics and omissions now I am going to say it:

If you were excluded by Bee Kapri for calling out Roger the way I was five years ago, you would not have the same opportunities for success you have now. 

Five years ago, after the allegations against our mentor came out, Jamila + Fatimah invited me to a meeting at their place to talk about it.

I saw Adam at a poetry performance about sexual violence in the arts and we emoted about our world breaking apart on a leaf-covered street corner. I let him know about the meeting, he indicated to me that he already knew about it. I didn’t organize the gathering or see it as my responsibility to do so, I was just so so grateful to Jamila and Fati for putting it together and for everyone who was there. I trusted them with my life.

Myself, Dominique Chestand, Malcolm London, Kush Thompson, Jamila Woods, Fatimah Asghar, Adam Levin, and H. Melt met to discuss the sexual violence accusations against one of our mentors, Roger Bonair-Agard.

As soon as she heard about this meeting our friend, YCA employee, and influencer Bee Kapri ceased contact with us. During the discussion at the apartment we vented our fears and reactions and discussed what we could do, hoping to incorporate more community members as we expanded.

We discussed Bee and someone said she had just been posting about some new book award of Roger’s so they didn’t include her yet. We came up with the idea to bring one or two people each to the next meeting.

I just knew I was coming with Raych (and probably Molly tbh). I hoped Bee would come, but left it to the leaders (Jam+Fati) to navigate. We wanted to work through soliciting public support and response from YCA. But when Bee found out about the meeting she felt like she was being made out to be a rape apologist, and like we were basically conspiring against her. And like I said, she stopped talking to us, except for with hurt and rage.

Our next scheduled meeting was cancelled because Malcolm was attending Roger’s baby naming ceremony.  I watched and was told that Bee was letting person after person back into her circle, but not me, and person after person receded from our working group.

That was the end of my friendship with Bee and the beginning of the end of my time at Young Chicago Authors.

I stopped feeling safe in the YCA space primarily because of Bee and Kevin Coval’s power and proximity to Roger. I think in the following Spring she sent a text inviting me to co-feature at that week’s open mic. I told her I was going to do a piece about Roger. She rescinded the invitation. The last and only time we hung I think was the end of that year I remember being invited to a holiday party of hers. I was grateful. Her family is awesome. Her little sister loved me. I was loved.

I was talking to survivors. A former YCA instructor who is a trained rape counselor and now runs her own poetry space for survivors of trauma+abuse told me in a public Facebook thread that years prior she had informed Kevin about another mentor’s inappropriate sexual activity with young people and she was ignored, he stayed, she eventually moved away from Young Chicago Authors. Others chimed in.

Before any of this I had also recently seen my mentor slammaster Robbie Q communicate that he was weirdly frozen out from YCA leadership by Kevin. And by all accounts and appearances, Kevin Coval and Roger Bonair-Agard were great friends who had been teaching, organizing, drinking, living, and…etc. together for years. I spent a year trying to navigate the fact that no one was taking responsibility at YCA while other organizations around the city WERE making public statements; Bee was not talking to me but hanging out with all my friends, and all of these things were problems that I knew could have been avoided maybe even before we held our first meeting the year before. I was not a legal employee of YCA, Bee was, most of the others were too.

In a mediation with Kevin Coval, H. Melt, and Jamila Woods, Bee Kapri later tells me she singled me out in regards to Roger+YCA for not including her in a meeting I didn’t even organize because of how much I meant to her, and the specific depth and origins of our friendship. What am I to do? But this was later in 2015.

At the end of 2014, I had my first mediation sessions with Kevin Coval. YCA had publicly severed ties with Roger, but I continued receiving messages about him working WITH YOUNG CHICAGO AUTHORS via satellite slams, helping with programming, etc. Even this year, when Eve Ewing posted my tumblr post from 2014 asking for accountability, an educator tweeted under her saying Roger had been booked for an LTAB slam in Texas and they wouldn’t be attending because of it and wish they could find more information. (Even now, Roger is listed first on the Free Write literacy youth program’s leadership page, and YCA collaborates with them basically every day of every year) So I had been publicly pressuring Kevin to make a statement using a diversity of tactics including letters, patience, diss tracks, genuinely tweeted rage, and fielding public conversations that folks wanted to have but couldn’t find an outlet for.

At this point, I am an outlier amongst my friends.

But Kevin and my’s mediation sessions were beautiful. The facilitator was kind and thorough. They were difficult too. I was surprised in some ways that Kevin was disturbed by my behavior, I always tried to make it extra clear, even at my most emotional, that I was genuinely literally following protocol and using all the tools at my disposal to make sure…no one got away with rape.

But we saw eye-to-eye in those sessions, and the mediator suggested we use our powers to work together and make something new and wonderful.

Kevin and I met for lunch.  Encouraged by H. Melt’s affirmation of me being an important queer male presence in the space, we settled on doing a queer-themed open mic. Kevin got the Queeriosity name from another similar event, and got the title cleared. Wow, this was gonna be awesome. My own space to help kids like me and be radical.

Then Louder Than A Bomb 2015 happened.

From my apology the next day…

“Yesterday I went to LTAB semifinals. I went to the 4-6 PM bout and was a VIP judge for 7-9PM.

I left several times during the first semis bout. I was disturbed by the consistently upsetting content. I had to call a friend for help. To calm down and also to ask how I was supposed to judge in this setting. My friend asked me -my- criteria, I chose out of what they offered: word choice and complexity of approach to the subject matter.

 

[…]

 

I made tweets criticizing the first slam and it embroiled me in some serious conflict with a few organizers of the event during.

My initial tweets read:
rly disappointed in & unenthused by this #LTABsemis. it feels formulaic, uninspired. “every piece” is quivering voices, generic complaints

and all the scores are like 8.5s.  realized what a specific event this is (has become) #ltab

The organizers feel that I was belittling the children.  Given the sensitive, passionate nature of my self, the children, the organizers, and the cause itself I hope you can empathize with how difficult and tenuous this is. I am trying to be direct. And kind. I do not intend to be destructive. Ever.  Forgive me, please. I offer this essay to give background to my truest, most complex thoughts.”

I publicly and privately apologized and offered to talk with anyone who was still mad. No one responded to my email. I let educators and community members express themselves on my wall and engaged in dialogues. The next time I went to an open mic at YCA Toaster pulled me aside to make sure I wasn’t going to make fun of any kids.

Like, nigga what? ME, NIGGA? I was literally the cheeriest most affirming presence at every single Wordplay, I got kids to scream their life was fantastic, I cheered, laughed, I listened, I documented, I shared, I cried, I checked in on loners, I introduced myself to newcomers, I even started the thing they do where they make sure the room repeats after all the -isms that aren’t allowed. (Lamar Jorden was hosting, when he said “no sexist” and because it was such a persisting problem I said again “SEXIST” and he said “actually that’s a good idea. I want yall to repeat after me when I say this”)

In 2018, my good friend Raych Jackson still wants to remind you that I was/am the guy who is MEAN TO KIDS while everyone jokes about people digging up tweets.

I know this is because I haven’t been hanging out with Bee Kapri and able to humanize myself and ingratiate myself with folks anymore. I became not just an outlier, but an outcast. All anyone seemed to see was my indignance, me from a distance. My tweets going at their leader and their best friend not talking to me or looking at me. I’m not at parties, I’m not at a show with you, unless I’m with Raych and thus under her protection.

Malcolm London, who looked up to me for years, directly insults me online during the twitter thing. I go around the event approaching people who responded online in person, with love in my heart. When I talk to him in person he is still mad but more understanding, says something to me like “we want you in the space,” referencing the roger thing as if to reassure me but also with a tone to assure me that it can be taken from me. Jasmine Barber enthusiastically supports me when I see her that night, she gets that there is a bigger split happening.

No one is ever as loud in supporting me as they are in disparaging me.

At the same time, I’m inviting H. Melt to be the first feature at Queeriosity.  I wanted to have different features come in and help make the theme/program for their evening. I specifically ask H. Melt to help me because I believe in YCA and that we can get back on the same page with our homies but I need H. Melt’s help to feel supported and sane. “I need you.” H. Melt super reluctantly agrees. In the wake of Roger, etc. they do not believe that YCA can care for them, will only hurt them.

After LTAB i’m worried YCA is going to cancel Queeriosity anyway but instead the nonprofit tells me they’re just going to institute more control of it. Jamila and Fatimah are brought in, and me, H. Melt, and those two are the Queeriosity team.

Queeriosity was difficult because we had nearly no budget, promotion was wonky, and there were a couple times the space was double booked, and our main supervisor stepped back weirdly so then Jamila became the boss and our peer and our friend? The four of us had an amazing season tho where I helped mentor the first openly queer generation of YCA. The kids still come up to me and hug me, send me messages; I consider young Sol Patches family.

But at the end of our Queeriosity pilot session, Jamila sat down H. Melt and I, the two people who were pursuing justice with Roger the longest and hardest and the two most visible queer people in the community at the time, and fired us as young people walked around us printing things and H. Melt wept and asked “why?” “is it roger?”

Jamila later sincerely apologized for how this went down. And assured me it had nothing to do with Roger. They didn’t like my teaching style, I didn’t fit their standards. I said “you never trained me. I asked to be trained and brought in more you never let me.” I am still fired from the program I started; they tell me later others behind the scenes were “interested” in a program like Queeriosity anyway before I came along. People like Bee…

H. Melt and I consider bringing a Queeriosity-like program to somewhere else. Young Chicago Authors had made us sign a contract giving them the name and program, something H. Melt was iffy about from the start. In the end, H. Melt is rehired by YCA and teaching and featuring at Queeriosity alongside Bee Kapri when the next season starts.

Then I sexually harassed my friend Molly at a party. We had had a sexually explicit friendship. We had helped each other through breakups, double dated, flirted, propositioned each other at various points. Literally said “we’re going to have sex one day” to each other, like boop.

The only time we actually hooked up, I had just ended a long term relationship as she was ending one and beginning a new one simultaneously. We made out but didn’t go further because she was really into this new guy.

That great guy Joseph Chilliams became one of my friends and collaborators, but I was hella jealous. And at this party, I was really drunk and dealing with sex and having a lot of sex and wanting to see how much explicitness and bad-ness I could get away with with my sexy thighs and long hair. I had been approached by and gotten away with hooking up with girls with boyfriends before and honestly felt so cool that no one would fuck with me even if they knew. The taboo made it…you know

So i told Molly all the things I wanted to do…with…to her…around the party. It wasn’t explicitly violent, but if Molly was trying to give me signals that she was very uncomfortable and I wasn’t following them… yeah. We talked in the morning. She told me how it especially bothered her because of my friendship to Joe and me knowing how she had just been through awful shit with her ex. She was right. I was sorry.

We hung out and corresponded a little after that. She even told me about her later doing… things at a party Joe was at, and him understanding, but her not even completely understanding herself. Word. But we continued to drift, we were already estranged. Where am I now with my friend group? How do they see me? They won’t!

I truly believe Molly knew and knows me as a person. She watched me developed from someone who had never had sex, to my first queer experiences, and beyond. She knew I didn’t even let Joe say “bitch” on our record, and I didn’t use that word or really allow others to say it around me. She knows how sad and devastated I get after causing pain to a woman, any woman, in any way. She’s seen me check our other male friends with love for a decade every time they hurt or disrespected women.

I always thought we could have worked through it. If I was able to be around, at all. But my fate was sealed. Like I said, people in the larger community still fuck with me. Most of these people I name still Twitter followed me, even though they didn’t interact with me or show up to anything I ever did… And I couldn’t show up to their shit or YCA out of fear of seeing Bee.

This is the story of the erratic sexual aggressor who is bad for kids. It feels good to own all this. This is the truth, my life.

The people holding me most to the LTAB situation and maybe the one with Molly (I really don’t think most people know about it, but I need to take responsibility now), are the people who should know me best, but are also the closest to Bee. Who should also know me better.

(I was just sitting here this morning reading that novel like damn I could have hung out with Chance, Bee Kapri, and my homies that night at Jamila’s release show alone, and my life might be drastically different now.)

Atevery step of the way I worked to make our original demands the new standard for all arts and activism in the city. I checked in with YCA however I could, sent emails, tagged folks, chopped it up with Kevin about my work with the Feminist Action Support Network, he said “Like a superhero?” I stopped having sex, lost my sexual identity. Molly wasn’t the only womanfriend I had harmed or harassed while drunk during that period. Trust me, it’s not that crazy but I took sober time. Night after night, I kept organizing, empowered venues to protect women from harassment at parties, to help people see the violence in all of us, to help people heal, I stopped pursuing sex at all especially with folks in my community, except the once when love hit me like a dump truck. And even then I couldn’t get it up. Get over it.  I did it all for free and I am a broke, broken man, who has paid my dues.

I never meant to use you all for my stepping stones.

Any questions?

 


 

From small fortunes:

 

“How would you feel if I was your daughter, though?”

 

I know it’s a good point, one of the points of this. Mom says “I understand what you’re saying, it’s just that you’re my son. And when stuff like this happens it can make you a target. People are going to try to mess with you.” That’s hers. I know that if something ever happened to me, for any reason, she’ll know that this is who I am, that me being in these situations and pushing them forward is inevitable. Maybe one day she’ll tell me she’s proud instead of afraid.

 

“It doesn’t matter what people say about me. I’m straight edge, I’m in school, I have a job, I’m really nice, whatever. As long as no one tries to kill me it doesn’t matter.” We never agree, in this conversation or others like it, we just talk ourselves dry and tell the other we love them.

 

I love my mom. I get off the phone with her and continue getting ready. I tweet “This is my first act as a man.”

 

25 QUESTIONS BEFORE WE SAVE THE WORLD with~ Ash Wednesday!

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I think I know Ash Wednesday through fellow rapper Lamon Manuel. It’s through Twitter, though, definitely~ we went back and forth #OnThere trading Drake lyrics, mostly from 2015’s What A Time To Be Alive. And I saw them do a sweet 16 on Instagram once! What a time to be alive, and they booked me and the amazing MFn Melo for the show tonight at Township.  Come see a set tonight from someone with naturally good taste in fun shit! The Ho Ho Ho Show w/ Plus Sign, MFn Melo, Squeak Pivot, Ash Wednesday, M.U.T.T., Hank McCoy, and DJ Stepchild. 2200 N. California, Chicago, IL;  doors 8 PM show 9 PM $10 @ door!

THE INTERVIEW

What’s your favorite color? easy, green! 
Who is your favorite athlete? although he’s technically retired I have a long standing love for Marshawn Lynch

What is your favorite poem and why? I’ll give it to HOWL by Allen Ginsberg. A sprawling work! It was my first foray into wildness as art/life/choice/being and it stays with me
What is the name of your fictional autobiography? ASH IS A FAST CAT 
How tall are you? 5’4
What is the title of the earliest work of yours you can remember? My first EP was called “Part & Parcel” – released in 2013. I googled briefly and am happy to report it’s not online anymore haha 
What is the title of your most recent piece of work? “Show It Around”; an unreleased song 
Tell me about it?  It’s about knowing what you’ve got and showing it off. Confidence, self-possession, drive, no fucks to give 
How did this show Thursday come about? My buddy Hank McCoy got the 12/15 date at Township to celebrate his homecoming from Europe! Hank has helped me throw shows in the past, so I jumped at a chance to pull this bill together!
Where is home? near Central Park and Belmont
What is home? home is where i keep my bicycle 
Who is home? no one b/c I don’t trust anyone enough to keep my bicycle 
Whose home are you? I am the home to many microorganisms !
What is your favorite plant? tree(s) 
Who is your daddy and what does he do? Bradley; he’s a business man
Who are you? Ash Wednesday 
What do you do? project manager slash rapper 
Who would you like to collaborate with? I’d love to get Joseph Chilliams on Show It Around! I dug those recent features on Noname’s Telephone and Saba’s Bucket List – go listen if you haven’t! #pivot! 
Where are you going? ALL THE WAY UP
Where did you just come from? I just came from Chicago on an airplane; so magic 
Where are you right now? I’m at an office in NYC right now @ Madison Ave & 52nd street; swanky right?
Who is Vashti Bunyan? I don’t know! I had to google her. I learned she’s a delicate sounding songwriter/performer who in 1970 put out a record that didn’t sell well. She gave up music after this, but by 2000 people were feeling that record! She released 2 more studio albums (2005, 2014) and is now ~70 years old. Vashti reminds me this life is circuitous
TELL me some impressions of the other performers? 
MUTT – his rap name stands for “Music Used To Transcend” and it’s true; experimental, expressive! His “deep self” definitely comes thru in his music 
MELO – a sweetheart! can i say that? he’s doing it for the music, he loves his people; i see the drive! MFN Melo what it look like!?
HANK – raps like a beast, hairy like a beast, a mans man, and bookers love him!

PLUS – i love the vibes. i’m ready to see some queer shit pop

squeak: squeak has got it! so polite, great swag, great look, and he knows droogs by anderson paak is a hit even tho it sounds unfinished

stepchild: jack of all trades in the iridium jersey. dj, live beats, host, swear i heard him freestyle for like 10 min straight; energy crazy

Why are you still performing? I (still) perform because I like to show it’s possible to do unconventional behaviors
What does a free world look like to you? a free world is a world free from pre-fab box-like expectations 

25 QUESTIONS BEFORE WE SAVE THE WORLD~ with MFn Melo!

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MFn Melo is one of the warmest people I’ve ever met, perhaps the warmest. His voice is warm, his dreads look warm,  his beats are warm, I’m telling you. I get to perform with him again for the first time in a long time at Township on December 15th. We’re sharing the bill with one of his PIVOT homies DJ Squeak Pivot (PIVOT = Melo, John Walt, Saba, Joseph Chilliams, and more. PIVOT = a lot of melodic, jazzy raps and versatile lyricists), Ash Wednesday, M.U.T.T., Hank McCoy, and DJ Stepchild. 2200 N. California, Chicago, IL;  doors 8 PM show 9 PM $10 @ door!

THE INTERVIEW

What’s your favorite color? Red
Who is your favorite athlete? Kobe
What is your favorite poem and why? Roses are red. It’s a legend
What is the name of your fictional autobiography? MuhfuckinMelo: What it looks like.
How tall are you? 6’1
What is the title of the earliest work of yours you can remember? “Call me Melo” sampled “umma do me” remix by Rocko. Rick Ross first line, it was “ima true baller bitch call me Melo” lol
What is the title of your most recent piece of work? MeloDramatics 
Tell me about it? It’s my first solo project I’ve been working on forever. Maybe one day I’ll put it out
How did this show Thursday come about? Ash Wednesday is thee homie. She asked and I’ll never tell her no
Where is home? Burb life
What is home? My room
Who is home? My nephew
Whose home are you? Depends on who’s looking for shelter
What is your favorite plant? Cannabis
Who is your daddy and what does he do? He retired
Who are you? I’m Muhfuckin Melo
What do you do? I take care of my nephew and write about my thoughts in my spare time
Who would you like to collaborate with? NoName
Where are you going? To the top
Where did you just come from? Studio
Where are you right now? Studio
Who is Vashti Bunyan? Google say she sing. Ima check her out in a minute
TELL me some impressions of the other performers? Ash is T’d. Energy always high. Great person.

+ is an amazing person as well. Helped me out in ways he’s unaware of. He that nigga

Riki cool as hell. Vibes go crazy

Why are you still performing? Cause that shits fun. Best part of being an artist. To know that people connect with me while I’m up there makes me feel. Feeling is cool
What does a free world look like to you? Papa doc and nem

25 QUESTIONS BEFORE WE SAVE THE WORLD~ with Carl Nadig!

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Carl Nadig is a conductor of positivity in Dekalb, IL. He awesomely invited me to
perform at November’s Majakka Monthly Music Marathon, a benefit he helps
organize for the Dekalb Area Women’s Center. Carl lives life as a dedicated journalist, generous thinker, and he plays music in the duo The Pleasant Street Players and Human Drag.

THE INTERVIEW

What’s your favorite color?
I don’t have one yet.

Who is your favorite athlete?
My younger sister, Stevie. She’s a wrestler. Wrestling as a female includes more challenges that I can only imagine.

What is your favorite poem and why?

“The Rime of The Ancient Mariner” by Samuel Taylor Coleridge is one of my favorites. The longer you read it, the more you become the protagonist in the story’s main plot.

What is the name of your fictional autobiography?

How tall are you?
5′ 10″, according to some medical experts.

What is the title of the earliest work of yours you can remember?
I remember painting a dinosaur in first grade. I don’t remember if it even had a title, because I was probably enjoying myself too much to name it.

What is the title of your most recent piece of work?
My new band just finished a song called “Make Me.”

Tell me about it?
You’ll have to hear it.

How did this monthly series come about?
The director of DeKalb’s Area Women Center, Anna Marie Coveny, asked Daerielle if she would play a few shows. Then we tossed the idea on hosting shows at Majakka Hall once a month for other bands and let all the proceeds go to the Women Center.

Where is home?
Right now? Pleasant Street in DeKalb.

What is home?
My mother’s voice.

Who is home?
Many people that are silently fading away.

Whose home are you?
That thought petrifies me.

What is your favorite plant?
I enjoyed walking to a specific willow tree back on my father’s farm, resting in the bottom of a valley, planted next to a creek.

Who is your daddy and what does he do?
My father is Rob Nadig. Farmer. It’s a profession that’s been in his bloodline for at least five generations.

Who are you?

What do you do?

Who would you like to collaborate with?
My mother’s father. He was a musician and lived in New Boston, Missouri, so I’m told. I never knew him.

Where are you going?
Down, according to some religion experts.

Where did you just come from?
Up, according to some religion experts.

Where are you right now?
In the middle.

Who is Vashti Bunyan?
I don’t know. Tell me about them. I’m curious.

TELL me some impressions of the other performers?
Grateful to be playing inside a new music venue in DeKalb, so I try to return that gratitude as much as I can.

You have to hear them.


Why are you still going?
I don’t understand.

What does a free world look like to you?
Probably more trouble than it’s worth, frankly.

the homies blog presents // 25 QUESTIONS BEFORE WE CHANGE THE WORLD with~ Kevin and Hell!

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I’ve performed with Kevin and Hell numerous times, and they were very memorable times. Once, his mullet was shaved onstage. Another, it was his birthday! Both times he laid down a funky, quirky, lo-fi jazz that is warm, enigmatic and sweetly brilliant. One of his stickers is in my bedroom and another is on my co-friend Jerrod’s water bottle. I am honored he asked me to perform for a series of shows he’s been putting together this fall.

THE INTERVIEW

What’s your favorite color?   Clear
Who is your favorite athlete? The one that is just trying to enjoy themself
What is your favorite poem and why? The one I haven’t heard yet, because it’ll be something I haven’t thought already.
What is the name of your fictional autobiography? Stairway to Kevin
How tall are you? 6 feet and 2 inches
What is the title of the earliest work of yours you can remember? I can remember how it sounds but not the title.
What is the title of your most recent piece of work? Moons of Mars
Tell me about it? It is a song where I float around in space and listen to the stars. A music video is almost ready.
How did the show September 29 come about? I wanted to bring some of my favorite local acts to Fat City in a quieter setting
Where is home? Wherever I’m comfortable
What is home? A state of mind
Who is home? You are home
Whose home are you? I am my own
What is your favorite plant? The truffula tree
Who is your daddy and what does he do? My dad is Mark and lives in Montana
Who are you? I am Kevin and/or Hell
What do you do? I transcribe music from the vast realm of possibility
Who would you like to collaborate with? The Myth Science Arkestra
Where are you going? I can’t say for sure
Where did you just come from? Not 100% sure about that either
Where are you right now? Next to some flowers on a painted bench
Who is Vashti Bunyan? I don’t know, yet
TELL me some impressions of the other performers? A lot of very different people working to bring people together.
Why are you still performing? I’ve temporarily retired to research the fruiting bodies of fungi.
What does a free world look like to you? One where people don’t need to impose their own agendas on others.

the homies blog presents// 25 QUESTIONS BEFORE WE SAVE THE WORLD with Corey Anderson!

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As I type, Corey Anderson’s former band Glad Rags has lulled into a gorgeous freefall.  All the dissonance and  tense Tom Waits-esque growls making up the first suite of the outfits most recent album Imaginary Friends have smoothed out and Corey has a chance to relax & make love to the listener through his horn. I love it~ amid the colorful barrage of his other former band, the mighty Evasive Backflip, and the weight of the world pushing him to be ever more self-critical as a young, white male it’s nice to think of Corey at peace. He deserves it. I’m glad for this interview, to hear about things and people he loves.

THE INTERVIEW

What’s your favorite color?

Oh goodness, off to a good start. I don’t have a favorite color. I’ve never really understood the whole favorite color thing on a personal level. I think I understand why other people have favorite colors but no color stands out to me.

Who is your favorite athlete?

If I had been asked this a few years ago I would have had an answer. Now, I have no idea. Sports were a big part of my childhood and growing up I was very active (in participating and watching) but lately I’ve been all like, ‘major sports leagues are kinda fucked up’ and the breeding of arbitrary divisions among people (ie cubs/sox rivalry) just compounds those feelings.
That’s not really an answer to the question though.
What is your favorite poem and why?
I’m not so good at this favorite game, or the remember names of media that you consume game, or the favourite game if you’re english. That being said….I don’t have one.
What is the name of your fictional autobiography?
Haha
‘Just another white man’
How tall are you?
Average. I fit perfectly under those low basement ceilings at all these house shows.
What is the title of the earliest work of yours you can remember?
I’ve always been terrible at titling my art, so, I have no idea. But I do remember I have always written poetry and songs and created art about love, emotions, and the world around me.
What is the title of your most recent piece/body of work?
Self Indulgence
Tell me about it?
It is a 52 minute album that was inspired/written/performed/recorded during a month of change. It’s subject matter is both a reactionary take on some pretty big changes in my day to day life that occurred at the onset of its creation and it is part of the larger ongoing conversation I have through my art about my struggles with what psychologists like to call bi-polar disorder.

How did this show come about?

Well, it may or may not be my birthday and I may or may not have a tape coming out. So, I may or may not have decided to get a few people whose talent and company I enjoy to get together on a bill!

Where is home?

Not really sure honestly. I was born in south florida but only spent the first 6 years there. My folks then moved to Naperville, and while I grew up there I’ve never felt it was my home. I’m always tempted to say Chicago, but I didn’t grow up here. So, in the end it will always be a place of comfort and hopeful stability, but I don’t think I’ll feel right putting a label on it as deeply entrenched in ownership as home.
What is home?
Music. My brother, my father, my mother, my partner.
Who is home?
See the above, and add that maybe one day I’ll answer that I am home.
Whose home are you?
A ton of bacteria and organic matter! Also maybe my partner and again maybe one day, myself.
What is your favorite plant?
Ivy is pretty spectacular to me right now. The way it slowly envelopes and creates a coat around whatever it vines along is pretty beautiful. My current bedroom looks out to an alcove of brick and ivy that frames my view by becoming my view. Also, marijuana.
Who is your daddy and what does he do?
My dad is Scott Anderson, currently he is professor at northwestern’s medill school of journalism! Before that he was one of the first people to put news online and spent 20+ years working at the sun sentinel, tribune interactive and the Chicago tribune. He is also an incredibly intelligent person and has always challenged me and pushed me to better myself.

My mom is currently working as a social worker after having recently gotten her masters (woo, go mom!). She is one of the hardest working badasses I know.

Both my parents are almost as radical as me and they definitely make it known/ do work to change The world. They are both extraordinary people who have sacrificed so much to provide a good life for my brother and me. I can see them and their influence in me every day and I am so thankful for that 🙂
Who are you?
I’m Corey! I’m pretty queer, I like dresses and pretty colors but god damn do I also like my beard!
What do you do?
Hopefully I work towards radical change through transformative justice and in providing a space for discussion and support of other necessary movements such as the abolishment of prisons and police.  I also play music and do arts and stuff
Who would you like to collaborate with?
Oh gosh, pretty much anyone actively and openly working against white male supremacy!
Where are you going?
To walk this next dog
Where did you just come from?
Walking the last dog
Where are you right now?
Walking a dog
Who is Vashti Bunyan?
I have no clue! Be right back, gonna google!
Okay so I can’t relay all the information I have just learned but she is apparently considered the godmother of freak folk. She recorded and wrote an album called Just Another Diamond Day that was released without much success. Apparently she was discouraged and left the music industry. Over time her work found an audience and she re entered the music industry and now has had “success”.
And now I need to listen to all her music.
Ps I used Wikipedia…..so I’m probably missing the radical/less commercial shit she did
Pps Plus, you always find a way to educate!
TELL me some impressions of the other performers?
Well, the very first thing is a presentation on anti gentrification movements and how to unionize as a tenan/fight against landlords. Then, it’s +, who has inspired me in I don’t know how many ways and is always a treat to hear/be in the presence of! Then it’s me! Then, Evasive Backflip, that bad ass band I sometimes play in, with that incredibly versatile sound. First time I heard them I said, imma play with them. Then I did. Last up is piss piss piss Moan Moan Moan! Oh boy not only is their music awesome but the band members are incredibly kind people. Tiger in particular has always been someone I look up to because of how accepting and open they are!
Overall I picked these bands for this show because they have all inspired and influenced me in overtly positive ways! That being said I was bummed I couldn’t include even more people, but there is always next time.
Why are you still going?
Because it’s not time to stop yet.
What does a free world look like to you?
This one’s tricky because I don’t think I’ll ever see a free world and so it is hard for me to flesh out the details of a free world. I think our society is entrenched in anti-freedom, that is to say we have people, systems, and ideas constantly working against freedom. Anti-freedom is not inherintly human though, it’s just we have a long history of oppressive systems being interwoven into our collective and individual consciousness. The economy is one of these systems and it is dependent on inequality. It is treated as an integral and inseparable part of humanity, but it’s not inseparable. It only has an extraordinarily long lineage and broad reach that gives the illusion of inseparability.
So, a free world has to be a separation of people and these ideas and systems of oppression. To do that though we will have to match in our efforts the longevity and ferocity of those systems. Planting seeds of freedom just as those in the past planted the seeds of anti-freedom.

I won’t ever see this world, but I know it’ll exist one day.

the homies blog presents// 25 QUESTIONS BEFORE WE SAVE THE WORLD with Jill Flanagan & Kiam Marcelo Junio!

thb-930

Jill Flanagan and Kiam Marcelo Junio are two of my favorite artists. They intimidate and inspire me with their skill, poise, beauty, and toughness. I am honored to be performing alongside these queer icons and also love their Facebook presences* just knowing that they’re there. Kiam shot two of the first homies blog entries featuring folk punk master Davey Dynamite and Chicago rap gods Lamon Manuel+SKECH185.

We will be performing October 1 at No Nation in Wicker Park alongside a bodacious bevy of other performance/multimedia artists~ they’re also queer icons!

THE INTERVIEWS

Jill

What’s your favorite color? grey
Who is your favorite athlete? Roy Jones Jr.
What is your favorite poem and why? The Applicant by Sylvia Plath is definitely one of them, I love all of Plath’s work but particularly this poem it’s so dark and psychotic seeming with a kind of Harold Pinter absurdist feel. I also love epic poetry like Dante’s Inferno and The Faerie Queen volumes 1-3 by Edmund Spencer
What is the name of your fictional autobiography? Diary of a half-wit:the remix
How tall are you? 6’2
What is the title of the earliest work of yours you can remember? I drew a book with the help of my parents about the invasion of the muffin people when I was 7
What is the title of your most recent piece of work? newest songs: Uterine Horn, I was a woman, Pit. I was in a play recently called Asshole in Wonderland:Body As Storage Unit

What will you be performing on Saturday? Forced into Femininity

Tell me about it? Forced into Femininity is a project and a personage that has inhabited me for several years. it’s gone in many different directions. I’ve been sending people booking emails calling it marxist body horror garbage opera but it’s always changing. Maybe trying to scare people and be funny. I was going through a period where I was writing a lot of songs exploring my white privilege and class privilege. Right now I’ve been experiencing a lot of heartbreak and emotional turmoil so it’s kind of gone in a more introspective place. But also singing more directly about being a transwoman. At this point in my art making, I’ve decided I just have to make art about what I’m obsessing over and not worry too much about significance

Where is home? It could be Chicago. Or a seat on a bus rocketing through blackness

What is home? I feel like home only exists for limited periods of time. Then it becomes to confining or upsetting because of the things that have happened there. As I’m typing this I’m lying in the room in my parent’s house where my grandmother died.

Who is home? myself in the mirror

Whose home are you? various parasites

What is your favorite plant? I really like the wild dill that grows everywhere in oakland. I’m trying to learn more about plants

Who is your daddy and what does he do? My dad is Jim Flanagan and he is a retired technology supervisor who now does consulting. He was on the first wave of personal computing and used emojis before anyone else.

Who are you? I’m a tangled mess wrapped in a smile

What do you do? I try to be a good person but I end up causing more harm than good probably. I try to create space for people to make art and help people. I like creating sounds and rolling around and climbing on people

Who would you like to collaborate with? Whitney Allen is a great collaborator because she balances out my stressball nature with her calm list making and enthusiasm. Plus she’s incredibly brilliant and talented. Also I’ve been having fun making this movie about dog people with Molly Hewitt and Julia Zinn.

Where are you going? down the tubes

Where did you just come from? sickroom antics and darkrooms of netflix and anxiety

Where are you right now? Things are silent. I still have trouble sleeping. the warts on my fingers are dyed black with bike grease

Who is Vashti Bunyan? she’s a lady who rides her buggy around williamsburg collecting the levies on the wifi at different coffee shops

TELL me some impressions of the other performers? THIS IS HARD, no offense

Glam Hag and Lady Daddy: dystopian relaxation techniques with a r.a.d.a style accent

+: A children’s show host but for adults who are confused children

Marcelline: abstract and dramatic movements of objects and body delineating our constructions of race

Ryan Hunter Greenlee: an elfin master of ceremonies playing strange and inhuman games

AntiBody Corporation: pop stars from an alternate and terrifying dimension

Kiam Marcelo Junio: a flowing digitally created sprite on a projection

Why are you still performing? I can’t stop even if I wanted to and I don’t want to

What does a free world look like to you? I don’t know, I feel like it would be all femmes destroying things and headbanging.

~*~*~*~*~*~

Kiam

 

What’s your favorite color?
Black and the many shades of blue

Who is your favorite athlete?

Yumiko Yoshioka, a butoh dancer

What is your favorite poem and why?

“Oda a unas flores amarillas / Ode to some yellow flowers” by Pablo Neruda.

What is the name of your fictional autobiography?

SACRED SKIN: A Creation Myth in Five Parts

How tall are you?

5’2″

What is the title of the earliest work of yours you can remember?

“This foot, then this foot, then this foot, then this foot” performance, 1984-1985

What is the title of your most recent piece of work?

A performance titled “Synthesis,” also, “Mimesis IV (Islands, Lakes, Explosions)” a new piece from my series, Camouflage as a Metaphor for Passing.

What will you be performing on Saturday?

Watching my sister getting married; also screening SACRED SKIN Chapter 1

Tell me about it?

my sister is officially joining of her energies with her chosen soul reflection in front of 200 people;
SACRED SKIN Chapter 1 illustrates a journey from here to there, traversing time through a world of polarity.

Where is home?

Within

What is home?

A place of belonging

Who is home?

My self/selves/ higher self / chosen family / the entire universe

Whose home are you?

Those who seek to affirm themselves through a reflection of their divinity

What is your favorite plant?

Sampaguita, the national flower of the Philippines; also the wide variety of orchids

Who is your daddy and what does he do?

My daddy is God aka Source aka Brahma aka the Oversoul, aka the Breath of Life and they make all things possible and give me an unlimited allowance in creative power

Who are you?

A spark from the flame of divinity housed in a temporary human vehicle

What do you do?

Create, assess, synthesize, feel, reflect

Who would you like to collaborate with?

Other self-aware and self-actualized divine sparks aka cute and hella talented people, I’d also like to one day collaborate with an elephant or a humpback whale.

Where are you going?

The future, also, San Diego to see and be with my family after a 5 year absence

Where did you just come from?

The past, also Chicago where I currently reside

Where are you right now?

This very moment, on an airplane, getting ready to land.

Who is Vashti Bunyan?

Another fractal of all of reality, pero no conozco, maybe I should look them up when I have wifi

TELL me some impressions of the other performers?

Creatures of love and power, agents of change

Why are you still performing?

Because I’m still breathing

What does a free world look like to you?

People aware of their power and beauty, a world of empathy, forgiveness, tenderness and joy.